Jurors in Harvey Weinstein’s trial sent the court 10 notes over four days of deliberations – including one note suggesting they may be deadlocked on the two most serious charges.
Judge James Burke asked jurors Friday to try to render verdicts on all counts, something that requires a unanimous vote on each. They deliberated another half hour before breaking until Monday.
Jurors asked Burke whether they could fail to reach a unanimous verdict on Count 1 and/or Count 3 while agreeing on other counts. Count 1 is predatory sexual assault related to Miriam Haley and Annabella Sciorra, and Count 3 is predatory sexual assault related to Jessica Mann and Sciorra. Predatory sexual assault is punishable by up to life in prison.
So far, jurors have deliberated for more than 24 hours, and their questions to the court go to the complexity of the case against the media mogul.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual act, first-degree rape, third-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault. The charges are primarily based on Haley’s testimony that Weinstein forced oral sex on her in 2006 and Mann’s testimony that he raped her in 2013 during what she described as an abusive relationship.
Some of the charges are structured as either/or counts, so Weinstein can only be convicted of two charges at most – one based on Mann’s allegations and one based on Haley’s.
Sciorra’s testimony that he raped her in the winter of 1993-1994 is outside of the statute of limitations and does not stand as a charge on its own. Still, it can be used to elevate the first-degree sex charges into predatory sexual assault charges, a count that requires serious sex crimes against at least two victims.
The jury has sent in 10 notes since deliberations began Tuesday, and several of the notes have related to Sciorra’s allegations. In one note, jurors asked the court to read aloud a transcript of parts of her testimony, and in another note, they asked to rehear testimony from actress Rosie Perez, who said that Sciorra had told her about the incident.
A source in Weinstein’s team told CNN that he is “cautiously optimistic” but “nervous.”
Another source close to the Time’s Up advocacy group that supports survivors of the #MeToo movement in Hollywood told CNN they are “nervous.”
What a deadlock could mean
In general, a deadlocked jury results in a mistrial, such as in Bill Cosby’s first sexual assault trial. The court may also choose to allow a partial verdict in which some counts are declared as a mistrial but verdicts on other counts are accepted.
In Weinstein’s trial on Friday, defense attorneys noted on the record that they were willing to accept a partial verdict. The government was not.
In addition to Haley, Mann and Sciorra, three other women testified during the trial that Weinstein sexually attacked them as prosecutors sought to show that he used his power in the movie industry to prey on young, inexperienced women.
However, Weinstein’s defense attorneys argued that the sexual encounters were consensual. As evidence, they pointed out that both Haley and Mann had sex with Weinstein after the alleged attacks, and they continued to have friendly contact with him for years afterward. He has also denied allegations of non-consensual sexual activity related to the other women.
The women’s testimonies highlighted thorny questions around consent and power dynamics at the heart of the #MeToo movement – questions that have rarely, if ever, been tested in a courtroom.
Once an acclaimed producer of movies such as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction,” Weinstein was accused by multiple women of a wide range of sexual misconduct in stories published in October 2017 in The New York Times and The New Yorker. A wave of similar claims against other influential men for allegedly abusing their power ensued in what is now known as the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein also faces charges of sexual assault and rape in separate incidents in Los Angeles.
CNN’s Chloe Melas contributed to this report.